Spoiler: Post-ep for "Chinga"
Author's notes: This begins during the actual episode, the part where Scully's initially telling Mulder about the case and he makes the unforgettable "marry me" remark. I simply couldn't resist because I know Scully's wits are just as sharp—if not sharper—than his. Some dialog from the actual episode has been changed.
By Suzanne Feld
Rated PG-13 for language
Previously on "The X-Files"
"Huh … it sounds to me like that's witchcraft or maybe some sorcery that you're looking for there."
"No, I don't think it's witchcraft, Mulder, or sorcery. I've had a look around and I don't see any evidence that warrants that kind of suspicion."
"Maybe you don't know what you're looking for."
"Like evidence of conjury or the black arts or shamanism, divination, Wicca or any kind of pagan or neo-pagan practice. Charms, cards, familiars, bloodstones, or hex signs or any of the ritual tableaux associated with the occult, Santeria, Voudoun, Macumba, or any high or low magic?"
"Sure. In the meantime, I was hoping for something a little more helpful."
"Uh, well, you know, short of looking for a lady wearing a pointy hat riding a broomstick, I think you pretty much got it covered there."
"Oh, I don't know. I think some things are better left unexplained." I gazed at Mulder, and he looked back with those sheepish puppy-dog eyes that I had to steel myself against. I wasn't letting him off the hook this time. "So... when's the wedding, Mulder?"
His gaze changed from innocent to shocked in the blink of an eye. "Wh--what?"
"The wedding. Our wedding. You asked me, remember?" I raised an eyebrow lazily at him. "And I said yes. So. Are you going to tell Skinner first, or should I let my mom know so she can plan it?"
He was clearly squirming under my eye and I relished every moment of it. "Uh, Scully..."
"What? You're welshing on me? Oh, Mulder, every woman in the building will hear about this," I said, holding back guffaws with a dint of will I hadn't known I possessed. "Propose to me and then don't carry through. Tsk."
I made it all the way out to my car before I broke down, holding onto the side of my Camry and laughing so hard that tears ran down my face and turned me into a raccoon. I was hiccuping as I finally unlocked it and got in, looking around and hoping that no one had seen me. But even if someone had witnessed my breakdown the trapped-rat look on Mulder's face made it more than worth it.
She was not going to get away with this, I vowed.
It was a good half-hour after Scully left before I was able to un-paralyze myself and get out of the office chair. Pencils littered the floor around me and I slipped and almost fell before kicking them out of my way. I was seriously annoyed, pissed that she'd gotten the better of me. Oh yeah, I'd heard her say "sure" after my "marry me" crack but I thought it was just her being a smartass. That she'd brought it up again really floored me until I realized that she was using it as a joke at my expense.
Joke, eh? Two could play that game.
The week passed rather quietly for us with a few local investigations, a lot of paperwork, and one stakeout assist on a non-X-File. We often got lent out as extra manpower if we weren't on an active case and this week was one of those. I spent much of my time in the office looking over old cases—or pretending to as I plotted my revenge.
I was anxiously waiting for the weekend.
Friday afternoon we went to lunch together and I very casually asked Scully if she had any plans for the next few days while we downed thick sandwiches at our favorite deli not far from the Hoover Building. "No, not really," she admitted. "It's nice having time at home so I want to get some things done, you know, clean out my storage space in the basement and whatnot. How about you?"
"The usual for me, too. Play some hoops, maybe D&D with the guys if I can get Frohike to let me DM, go to the movies. Might stop by tomorrow night if you're not busy, bring a pizza or some Chinese takeout." This was how many of our evenings together started and I made sure to stick to the script.
"Call first," she said, picking up the thin dill pickle slice that came with the deli sandwich and biting delicately into it. I was always amazed that she ate it, since it didn't seem like a Scully-food. "I should be home, but if Charlie comes into town that'll change all my plans. Mom said he might dock at Groton this weekend."
I filed this away for later possible use. "Okay. Well, maybe next week."
"No, just call first," she said. I then realized that she probably didn't want me to think that she'd be sitting home waiting for me to come by—like I did when she promised the same. It made me reconsider the rather mean joke I was about to play on her in return, but remembering her smirk on Monday stiffened my spine. It was the last time she'd pull something like that on Fox William Mulder, I'd see to that!
I knew Mulder had something up his sleeve, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what. I had no doubt that he wouldn't take my joke lying down and as the days went by I got more and more antsy about it. I wished he'd just get me back and have done with it, but he was either planning something really elaborate or was going to let it pass. And with the level of competition between us I knew he couldn't let it go; I just had to be braced for countermeasures at any moment.
As expected he called Saturday afternoon and I assured him that I'd be home that evening for our pizza and movie night. We had our usual half-hour discussion of what movie he'd rent, finally agreeing on "Conspiracy Theory" which he'd seen and I hadn't. He assured me that he wouldn't mind watching it again and that I'd like it. I wasn't sure about that, but Mel Gibson was easy on the eyes and that was good enough for me.
He showed up with a large pizza box, the Blockbuster case balanced on top of it and a six-pack of Corona in the other hand. I took the beer into the kitchen as he headed into the living room, saying, "Are we getting fancy, here, Mulder? Imported beer? Where's your usual Michelob?"
"Felt like celebrating an entire week without leaving town," he called back to me, setting the pizza on the cleared coffee table.
I went back into the living room with two opened beers, a couple of paper plates, napkins, and forks and sat down next to him. "What, you didn't put the movie in?" I said, picking up the unopened video case. "We are watching this tonight, right?"
He had spots of color high on his cheekbones, which I normally only see when he's very embarrassed, very excited, or exhausted from chasing a suspect fifteen or twenty blocks. And I know it's not the latter. "Oh, uh, yeah, we are, but have a piece of pizza first," he says, opening the box and quickly transferring a piece to my plate.
And on it is a huge diamond ring, centered carefully in a piece of pepperoni.
After a moment of utter shock, I realize that it can't be real and swiftly decide how to handle this. This was the exact kind of thing I've been waiting and braced for. Imagining how I'd feel if it were real, I managed to pretend to burst into tears, grab the ring, and race into the bathroom before he has a chance to do anything but sit there and watch me with his mouth hanging open.
Oh, I am a stinker.
I made Scully cry. I am such an outright bastard; this did not go the way I'd hoped.
I thought she'd pick up the ring and glare at me, or quip something like, "So the wedding's back on, is it?" And we'd laugh and having gotten her, I'd let it go from there. But no, I upset her and I certainly didn't mean to do that. She was really crying, I realized as I slowly got up and crossed the living room with my heart in my throat to stand before the bathroom door. I could hear her sobs from here.
After a few moments I tapped on the door. "Scully? Scully, it was just a bad, stupid joke—I'm sorry," I said lamely to the white-painted wood. "Please, come out and talk to me."
The door swung open and instead of an angry, tearstained face I'm shocked to see that Scully is grinning widely at me, no sign of tears anywhere. She holds out her left hand, which is wearing that garish fake ring, and says, "Oh, Mulder, you shouldn't have! I love it—let's hop a plane to Vegas and get married there!" Then, before I can move, she throws herself at me and all but strangles me with a hard hug around my neck.
Oh, shit, it's worse than I thought!
Then I realize that Scully's small, firm yet soft-in-certain-parts body is pressed against mine from chest to hips. As it hits me she apparently catches on to the same thing and stiffens, but I've gotten my arms around her by then and don't let her move away. I now know she's playing me but I hold her against me, ducking my head against the soft hair over her ear. "I'm ready when you are, Scully," I murmur into it, nuzzling her hair with my nose and holding her against me with one arm around her waist, the other up around her shoulders.
All of a sudden all the playfulness is gone and she stills against me, then leans back to look up at me as I loosen the arm around her shoulders. Gazing down at her in all seriousness, I lower my face to hers.
Just before my lips touch hers, she whispers, "If you don't mean this, Mulder, don't do it. No bullshit."
I hesitate, but I do mean it as I press my lips to hers. I don't push it past a comfortable close-mouthed kiss although I do keep her held against me as much as I can; I'm going to enjoy the contact for as long as I possibly can because who knows if this will ever happen again?
She responds, but the kiss goes no further and slowly I raise my head and let her go. "That wasn't part of the joke," I tell her seriously.
"I know," she says quietly, stepping back and gazing up at me with an inscrutable expression in her shadowed blue eyes.
I reach out and take her left hand, gently sliding the two-dollar ring from it. "I'm sorry if I went too far," I say tentatively. "I was just so determined... you've never gotten me so good before..."
She gives me one of those inscrutable close-mouthed smiles, but her eyes lighten and I feel my mood lift in response. "I had you big time, didn't I?"
I had to grin. "You did, dammit, Scully. Okay, you won this one. But don't get used to it."
To my surprise she reaches out and opens my fist, removing the ring before I can stop her. "To the victor goes the spoils."
"Scully, it's just a--"
She reaches up and places a finger over my lips, effectively cutting me off in mid-word. "That's not the point, Mulder. The point is that you gave it to me, and I get to keep it. For promises to keep." Then she winks at me, shoves the ring in the front pocket of her jeans, and turns to saunter away.
I never knew that losing could feel so damn good.